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Recording Problems at the Registry of Deeds: Gap Coverage

Articles from The Massachusetts Focus

Newsletter of Stewart Title Guaranty Company, Massachusetts Offices Winter 2003, Volume 2, Number 1

Recording Problems at the Registry of Deeds: Gap Coverage
by Richard Urban, Vice President and Massachusetts State Counsel

Unfortunately, the recording delays that have existed at the Middlesex South (Cambridge) Registry of Deeds continue to persist and, in fact, have grown increasingly worse. What began as a 3-day period of time in which documents stood a reasonable chance of being recorded has increased to the absurd point of 10 days and more. Moreover, it has come to our attention that both Registries in Worcester as well as the Essex South (Salem) Registry are either currently experiencing similar problems or anticipate them in the very near future. Although recent media headlines have indicated that relief may be on the way in the form of either legislative, budgetary or personnel assistance, the need for immediate solutions has never been more pronounced.

Stewart has previously provided authorization for its agents to issue loan and owner policies for transactions involving properties located in Middlesex South before the actual recording took place provided that certain safeguards were met and the recording took place within 3 days of the closing.

In light of the continued problems at Middlesex South Registry of Deeds and the existing or anticipated problems at both Worcester Registries of Deeds and Essex South Registry of Deeds, Stewart has expanded the application of its "gap" coverage to each of these Registries (both registered and recorded land) so long as the following safeguards are met and documents are recorded within the 15 business day period specified below.

Refinances:

  1. At the time of closing, the agent must obtain an indemnification from the borrower(s) in the form shown on the insert included with this newsletter.
  2. After the closing takes place, a conventional rundown of title must be performed as if the recording was to occur upon the expiration of the rescission period.
  3. If the documents cannot be recorded at that time because of the existing Registry delays, then a loan policy may be issued with the "Date of Policy" completed as follows:
    "[Rescission Date] or the date of recording of the insured mortgage, whichever is later."
  4. The agent must make every reasonable effort to record the documents within fifteen (15) business days of the rescission date. At the time of the actual recording of the documents, the agent must perform a final rundown of title and advise Stewart of any discovered matters. (Note: The discovery of any such matters will not require the suspension, delay or termination of the recording or the issuance of the loan policy).

Sales:

  1. At the time of closing, the agent must obtain an indemnification from the seller(s) in the form shown on the insert included with this newsletter.
  2. After the closing takes place, a conventional rundown of title must be performed as if the recording was to occur on that day.
  3. If the documents cannot be recorded at that time because of the existing Registry delays, then a loan and owners policy may be issued with the "Date of Policy" completed as follows:
    "[Closing Date] or the date of recording of the insured mortgage and/or deed, whichever is later."
  4. The agent must make every reasonable effort to record the documents within fifteen (15) business days of the closing. At the time of the actual recording of the documents, the agent must perform a final rundown of title and advise Stewart of any discovered matters. (Note: The discovery of any such matters will not require the suspension, delay or termination of the recording or the issuance of the loan and owners policy).